Vermont Lifestyle

Tick Prevention Tips

In recent years, ticks have become a big nuisance in Vermont. We've put together some facts about these pests to keep you safe while you enjoy the outdoors this summer. We've thrown in some prevention tips and information to help if you find one on yourself or your pets. 

What are ticks anyway?

Ticks are parasitic creatures of the arachnid family; they have 4 long legs on either side of their rounded body. Thankfully they cannot jump or fly, but they do crawl onto hosts to feed. Ticks spread Lyme Disease, which can cause serious, long-term issues for the infected person or animal. 

Where do ticks live?

Tall grass, shrubs, wooded areas and low brush are havens for ticks. If you're going for a hike, be sure to keep as much skin covered as possible, and stay near the center of the trail to decrease exposure. Hunters should be warned that ticks also live on other animals, such as deer, and will move from the animal to a human if given the opportunity. According to the CDC, it is best to use a bug spray, or combination of lemon and eucalyptus oil to discourage ticks from biting. 

How do I avoid getting a tick?

In addition to keeping as much skin covered as possible, you should avoid walking in tall grassy areas as much as possible. Rake and remove loose leaves from your yard, and clear away any tall grass or brush that you can. Placing wood chips or gravel between any shrubbery and your yard will provide a barricade and keep ticks away. Make sure to keep play areas away from shrubs and vegetation. 

If you've spent any time hiking, hunting, or in known tick havens, wash your clothes in hot water and shower as soon as possible. The CDC suggests that showering within 2 hours of possible tick exposure reduces your risk of contracting Lyme Disease. Do a thorough tick check while you're at it; they love to hide so be sure to check your hair, ears and in between fingers and toes. 

If ticks are of major concern, tick repelling chemicals are available to homeowners. According to the CDC, one application of acaricide during the spring time reduces the tick population by 68-100%. Pest control companies will be able to assess your property and give you a personalized suggestion to best deal with the threat of ticks. 

What if I find a tick?

If you discover a tick on yourself or a loved one, take a pair of tweezers or a tick removing tool, and pinch the tick as close to the head as possible. Pull straight back, doing your best to remove the entire pest, and most importantly, the head. If you are unable to do this yourself, go to a doctor's office as soon as possible. 

If you've been bitten by a tick, be alert to any rashes, pains or fevers that develop in the subsequent days and weeks. If anything seems unusual, see your doctor immediately. Lyme Disease is an infection with chronic, and potentially debilitating, life long symptoms. It is best to air on the side of caution and have yourself tested for Lyme Disease at the time of exposure. 

How do I keep my pets safe?

Unfortunately, pets love to play in areas that are appealing to ticks. Ask your vet about oral and topical medications for dogs and cats that will aid in tick prevention. There are also collars and shampoos available which are effective prevention supplements. It's best to check your pet for ticks daily during the spring and summer to be safe. 

We hope these facts and tips are helpful to you! 

 

 

Help Us Fight Hunger This Holiday Season!

 

The Signature Team has organized a food drive to fight hunger in Chittenden County this holiday season!

We're thrilled to be giving back to the community which offers us so much support year round. If you'd like to participate, please stop by our office with donations, or to pick up donation bags for your business. 

***One participant will win a $50 The Farmhouse Tap & Grill gift card!

Feel free to contact our Office Manager, Jarah LaRock with any questions! She can be reached at (802) 872-8881. 

Thank you for your continued support! Together we can make a difference in the lives of our neighbors. Donations benefit the Vermont Foodbank and Chittenden County Emergency Food Shelf.

2015 COTS Walk

Support the Signature Team in this year's COTS Walk!

 

The Community On Temporary Housing provides homeless, and marginally housed, members of our community with the support they need to get back on their feet.

 

Homelessness is a cause that is near and dear to us at Signature Properties. We are committed to raising as much as we can for this great cause. If you are able and willing to donate to our team, you may do so here. No donation is too small, and all encouragement is greatly appreciated.

 

Together we will make a difference. 

 

Condo Living - What Millenials and Boomers Need to Know

 

Condominium living is especially appealing to millenials breaking into home ownership as well as baby boomers ready to downsize. Owning a condo is a great way to build equity and benefit of the tax incentives without all of the maintenance and upkeep associated  with home ownership.

There are some downsides to owning a condo that you should be aware of in advance. Some homeowners association rules may be an unpleasant surprise for many millennials. For boomers, living in a building or being a part of a community and abiding by the restrictions could be a challenge, particularly after owning a single-family home for many years.

Here are some of the common rules that may come as a surprise to millenials and baby boomers alike:

Your hardwood floors will need to be at least partially covered

Living in close proximity to neighbors isn't for everyone. Millennials likely have a recent experience with communal living, either in a dorm room, a rental building or even back in their parents' home. For boomers who have lived under their own roof for many years, this could be a shock to the system. Imagine what it would be like to live in a building full of hardwood floors and little-to-no carpet to absorb the noise of shoes, pets and children.

For this exact reason, almost every multi-story condominium will require owners to partially cover their hard floors. If you're dreaming of hardwood floors, you'll want to check the homeowners association rules before tearing up any carpeting.

You can't use your parking space for storage

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the parking space that comes with your unit may only be used as such. Even for those (especially millenials) who opt out of owning a vehicle, the parking space rule stands. Yes it may be tempting to turn your space into a storage unit, but it will likely not fly with the condo association. Part of the role of an association is to maintain a neat, orderly aesthetic - parking spaces filled with lawn furniture, garage equipment and the like will not qualify.

There will be noise restrictions

Many condo rules specify that between certain hours occupants must not interfere with other owners' quiet enjoyment. This rule is frequently enforced and is likely music to the ears of a boomer concerned with leaving their private, quiet, single-family home for community living. For a millennial who is still within striking distance of their party years and the noise that comes with it, this is a big consideration.

When you're looking at condos, take note of how the building was constructed. Is there concrete between the floors, or is it all wood? Listen for noises coming from other units and think about how that will affect you - and likewise, how your noise will affect your neighbors.

Your pets might not be welcome

Until they're well into the real estate search, few people realize that many condo buildings have pet restrictions. Restrictions regarding the type and number of pets exist in nearly every condo development.

Year after year, buyers have had to forego great apartments simply because of a pet. Knowing this before you get too involved in the real estate process will help soften the blow when you discover that Fido isn't welcome -- a potential shot to the heart of both the boomer and the millennial. If your pets are part of the family, fear not, there are plenty of associations who do allow for them - you just need to read the rule book carefully to avoid compliance issues.

Renting may  not be allowed

Many condo boards have restrictions on the number of rentals allowed in the association. Having too high a percentage of renters makes it harder for new buyers to get a loan, and homeowners believe that owners who are present have more of a vested interest in caring for the building than a tenant, who has much less at stake. Finally, if you've been dreaming of making some extra cash with short-term rentals, you better check the condo's rules and restrictions first, as some will forbid such rentals.

Bottom line: Find out the rule on renting, as well as the current percentage of renters, before you buy.

Know before you go

If you're not ready to give in to some of the restrictions that come with condo ownership, you might want to reconsider. While some homeowners associations are more lenient than others, you should go into a condo purchase with eyes wide open. Rules are made for a reason, and you should expect them to be enforced.

Before making an offer, take the time to thoroughly go through all of the association documents and really think about how they will apply to your lifestyle. It may be hard to turn down a unit you're in love with, but it'll be even harder to deal with the consequences of rule enforcement and tailoring your life to fit.

Your 2014 Fall Foliage Guide

foliage guide

The colors are changing and with an unseasonably warm weekend ahead, there's no better time than to explore our beautiful state!

Looking for something to do? Check out these upcoming events!

1. Old Fashioned Harvest Market: Rt. 15 Underhill: September 27th - 28th: Annual Old Fashioned Harvest Market is centered at the United Church of Underhill. This family-oriented community fair features 2 days of entertainment, food & fun, with an opening parade, over 100 crafters, LOTS of great food, kids activities, & music. Many great kids activities, including:

  • PARADE - Saturday at 9:00 down River Road
  • ZUCCHINI CONTEST-Longest, heaviest, best decorated!
  • PET SHOW-Children under 12 are encouraged to bring their favorite pet to show off.
  • OLD-FASHIONED GAMES such as stilt walking, bobbing for apples, ring toss, penny pitch, hoops, nail drive, & a dunking booth.
  • SAW DUST CANDY SCRAMBLE - This popular fast-paced event is broken down into the following groups to make sure all ages have a fair shot at finding plenty of pieces of candy in the big sawdust pile: preschool & 1st grade; 2nd & 3rd grade; 4th & 5th grade; 6th & 7th grade; and 8th grade plus anyone who missed their slot.
  • ORGANIZED EVENTS such as Hoop races, sack races, a three-legged race, wheelbarrow races, and a water balloon toss will run from 1-3 on both days.

2. Fall Fun at Adams Farm Market & Orchard: 986 Old Stage Rd. Williston: 

September 27 & 28 Hands on Activities

  • Try your hand at cider making, create your own picturesque family photo-op.  We will have the materials and props...you bring the fun and smiles!

October 4 & 5th  Petting Zoo

  • Hannah Smith, from Vinegar Ridge Farm will be returning with her wonderful assortment of Vermont Farm Animals for you to visit.

3. Giant Pumpkin Weigh in at Sam Mazza's: 277 Lavigne Rd. Colchester: September 27th:

  • Bring the whole family to watch giant pumpkins battle for the heavy weight title. Take a Hayride to the Pumpkin Patch or Get Lost in the Corn Maze while you're here. Enjoy lunch with Pizza Papillo and an apple cider donut or treat from the Bakery.

4. Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival: 1746 Mountain Rd. Stowe: September 28th:

  • It is again time to get your pumpkin chuckin' trebuchet (gravity powered catapult) ready for the Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' (VTPC) Festival at the Stoweflake Resort and Spa in Stowe, Vermont. The VTPC Festival is a fun, family event sponsored by the Stoweflake Resort and Spa and other local sponsors.The event benefits the Lamoille Family Center, which has a thirty-eight year history of supporting Lamoille Valley families through early care, and educational services, home visiting, parent education, playgrounds, child care resource and referral, youth services, and emergency assistance. The event gives kids and adults a chance to build something with their hands and compete; a cross between a shot put contest and a Soap Box Derby. Along with the pumpkin chuckin' contest comes music, children's activities, a bounce house, chili cook-off, and great food; all creating an enjoyable fall day. Music for this year's festival will again be provided by three bands; House Dunn, Ball Hammock and the duo Jen and John, which will be performing periodically from 11am to 4pm. 
    • 1st round: 12:30 pm
    • 2nd round: 1:30 pm
    • 3rd round: 2:30 pm
    • awards shortly after the last round
    • Music: 11 am - 4 pm (with occasional breaks) 

5. Pie Fest & Cider House Run at Shelburne Orchards: 216 Orchard Rd. Shelburne: September 28th:

  • Start the day with a run through the orchard. Then you can enter, enjoy, or eat the homemade apple pies in the Pie Fest!The Cider House Run/Walk (2 or 4 mile run or a 2 mile walk) begins at 11:00 a.m. Cost is $25 for anyone over 12 (includes a $5 Pick Your Own apples coupon). Kids under 12 are asked to pay $8 for the coupon. Please pre-register.The Pie Fest consists of 3 local judges taste-testing 30 double crusted apple pies. You MUST register prior to the contest by contacting Megan at 864-7528 or meganjhumphrey@gmail.com because entry slots are limited to 30 and fill up quickly. Once registered, you MUST arrive PRIOR TO 11:30 or you will forfeit your spot!!!
    • Judges then use their finely tuned palates to discover the winners among pies.
    • First Place walks away with $200 cash.

6. Stowe Oktoberfest: 331 West Shaw Hill Stowe: October 3-5:

  • Held in Stowe's Jackson's Area, the Annual Oktoberfest is a Bavarian festival that has fun for all ages. From oompah bands to authentic German foods, pumpkin and face painting and even a kinderplatz for kids with a Jumping house and face painting.Grand Parade
    • Saturday at 10:00am
    • Mountain Rd. & Main St. Stowe

    Join celebrity grand marshals and special guests at the Grand Parade to officially open Oktoberfest 2012. The parade will include marching bands, floats representing local clubs, organizations and companies, dignitaries, classic cars and a few surprises.

    Click for $1 off coupon here on the website.

7. Sam Mazza's Harvest Festival: 277 Lavigne Rd. Colchester: October 4th and 12th:

  • When the leaves start turning everyone at Mazza's celebrates fall and the wonderful experiences that this season brings by holding their annual Fall Festival. It is a great family experience. The festival offers lots of on-grounds entertainment. The children can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay ride down to the pumpkin patch, the corn maze and many craft and entertainment activities held under the tent. 

8. Harvest Celebration at City Market: 250 Main St. Burlington: October 5th:

  • Head to City Market to sample some of Vermont's finest products.  They will have lots of delicious delights available to taste.  There will be prize giveaways, face painting, henna art, Sudzy Putty, live music, and more! It is fun for the entire family.

9. Rocktoberfest at Basin Harbor Club: 4800 Basin Harbor Rd. Vergennes: October 19th:

  • Rocktoberfest at Basin Harbor Club - a Bacon & Beer Festival that is family Friendly.

    Live Music Schedule

    • 5:45-6:15 Rehab Roadhouse
    • 6:30-7:15 Rumblecat
    • 7:30-8:20 Red Hot Juba
    • 8:30-9:30 Funk Wagon

    Mouthwatering foods, specialty bacon items -Think Bacon Tater Tots, Maple Glazed Bacon Wrapped Chicken. Bacon Caramel Corn, Maple Bacon Cheesecake Pops, Banana Bacon PB Whoopie Pie. Plus classics like burgers and sausages, maple cotton candy, hot soups, carmel apples and more.

    Kids activities from 3:00 - 7:00: dux the balloon guy, joeys jumpys. facepainting.

    Beer and Wine Tent with Magic Hat, Woodchuck Cider and specialty cocktails with Whistle Pig (visit the Whistle Pig Pigs)

    Bonfire at Dusk

For a full, statewide calendar events, visit HERE

Check HERE for foliage reports from across the state:

foliage

 

 

 

Vermont Ranks 5th Nationwide in Energy Efficiency!

VT Energy

When it comes to energy efficiency, Vermonters are among the most savvy and conscientious in the nation!

While Massachusetts overtook California, the leader for the past 4 years, for the top spot, Vermont still made an impressive showing by coming in 5th overall.

The American Council for and Energy-Efficient Economy awarded Vermont the top score overall for our utility and public efficiency programs as well as our policy programs. Our "innovative and aggressive programs" help to conserve energy across the state's economy while our budget allows for the most expansion of electrical efficiency of any state in the nation. Therefore, Vermonters are able to bring in the highest incremental electricity savings of any population in the United States!

If you're in the market for new appliances, find out the most energy efficient purchases here!

View the full FORBES article here